Monstrously Misshapen

A grotesquely gnarled tree limb, torn from its trunk years ago during a fierce windstorm. A distorted, dried, weather-worn dead branch so monstrously misshapen as to be profoundly beautiful.

How is it that something so obviously distorted and, in the traditional sense, hideous can be so splendid? It goes to the heart of why we have a word like oxymoronic; we need an adjective that describes such contradictions. How is it, though, that such incongruencies can exist? How can something monstrous and misshapen be, simultaneously, fabulous and perfect?

I don’t have the answer. Oxymorons are irrational but they allow us to use language to both describe and to account for the existence of the irrational.

I’ve been up since around 4 and have written and discarded the equivalent of a short novel, I think. Nothing I’ve written resonates with me. At one point, I wrote about an ugly bush that blocks the view from our kitchen window. I intended to dig it up and replace it, but can’t now because a cardinal has built a nest in the gangly bush. I suppose I could dig it up, anyway, but I would consider myself a monster for doing it; so, I will wait until eggs (assuming there are eggs) hatch and the cardinalitos flee the nest. I spent a good thirty minutes writing about that earlier this morning. I discarded it. I just spent 30 seconds replacing what I’ written earlier.

The cardinal fiasco was just one of many that consumed my thoughts earlier in the day. I wrote about them and discovered, much to my chagrin, that they, too, warranted disposal. That happens sometimes. Frequently, in fact. The reason I finally opt to discard what may have taken me hours to write is simple: the words seem to be monstrously misshapen, with no corresponding oxymoronic beauty. I think I’ll be better off cooking or washing dishes than writing this morning.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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